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Satisfied EHR Users

Posted on September 3, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I think that too often only those unsatisfied EHR users get highlighted. This is probably true, because they’re the loudest. In fact, the reason I haven’t started an EHR vendor review site is because review sites tend to only be those that are really unsatisfied with the product or those who are asked to review by the vendor. The reality is that there’s the whole gamut of EHR satisfaction.

On that note, I thought it worth highlighting a comment I received from Eric R. Ashby, MD, FACS talking about his implementation of the PatientNOW EMR that’s designed specifically for cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery and medical spas.

I am quite happy with the software and the transition from paper to EMR, and we have just scratched the surface. Patients are so impressed when I go into the exam room with a tablet computer. I am so impressed when I leave the room and click “File as Complete” and have no Paper work or dictation to do.

Now I’ll admit that I don’t know anything about PatientNOW’s EMR or Eric R. Ashby. However, Eric’s experience isn’t unique. There are many people who use an EMR and feel the same way. It’s just unfortunate the media (including myself to a certain extent) love to cover the EMR failures. I’ll see what I can do to also highlight the EMR successes as well.

Cost of Leaving EMR for Paper

Posted on May 12, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve just begun my series listing the benefits of an EMR in a clinical practice, but today I was kind of struck by a post over on the TempDev blog. The post is called “Would You Go Back to Paper?” The following section of an email they received is what struck me most:

I cannot begin to tell you how the loss of EMRs has adversely impacted our work. Please keep up the good work with helping people implement EMRs.

Sincerely,
A Midwest RN

They also have a poll on their post which should hopefully turn up some interesting results. However, this comment from A Midwest RN really made me think about what it would be like to leave an EMR and return to the paper world. I’ve quite often suggested that if the clinic I work for full time chose to move to another EMR, I’d just leave first. I expect if they chose to go back to paper, I’d do the same. Luckily, I don’t think either of those things are even in the dark recesses of the mind.

I must admit it’s really hard for me to imagine our clinic without EMR. It’s such an integral part of how we operate that I can only imagine the struggles we’d have to go back. Sure makes me think about all the complaining that happened during the EMR implementation process. I’m guessing the complaining that would occur if we went back to paper charting would be even worse.

Nice to take a second to look at EMR implementation from a different angle.

Tips for Assessing Your EHR Vendor’s Financial Situation

Posted on February 14, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Recognizing and learning how your EHR company is doing financially is usually easier said than done. However, there are often some indicators that should trigger you to look a little harder at the financial stability of your EHR company.  Here’s a list of things you can watch for to assess your EHR company’s financial situation.

  1. Check out the corporate website to see announcements of new EHR sales.
  2. Measure support response times.  A slow down in response might be a bad sign.
  3. Follow your EHR company’s support forums to measure activity and hear from other users of the EHR software.  If no one is getting their support requests answered (see 2), then that’s a bad sign.
  4. Stay familiar with the sales and support people at your EHR company.  A mass exodus might be a sign.
  5. Ask your EHR vendor.  I always love open transparent communication.  It can do amazing things.
  6. Watch conferences your EHR vendor normally attends.  Not attending one conference might just be a change in marketing.  Not attending any conferences might be an indication something’s going on.
  7. Ask about your EHR companies online at places like EMRUpdate.  Not only could you hear from other users, but most EHR companies don’t like bad PR and reply to public requests in a more timely manner.

None of these are fool proof methods.  However, seeing a number of these together should cause you to investigate a little further.  As I’ve seen in a number of different software companies, the company usually gets really quiet before it fails.  Occassionally a company has so much business that it stops communicating and responding.  However, most companies that are doing well love to show off their successes.  

Don’t think this is all doom and gloom.  Look at this more like a wake up call.  Are you prepared if something like this happens?  Is your contract such that you can still use the EHR if your EHR company does fail?  Who owns the data in your EHR?  Have you created a backup plan if something like this happens?

There are a lot of options available, but you have to plan for it.  Make it part of your disaster recovery policies and if something like this happens to your EHR company you’ll be prepared and not fear.

When a SAAS EHR Software Goes Belly Up

Posted on February 13, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently posted my belief that the EMR and EHR industry is about to shrink. This can happen in a number of ways, but will most often happen through either a merger or a company just closing its doors.

There are definite challenges associated when your EMR or EHR company gets merged into another company. I’ll save those discussions for a future post (or would welcome a guest blogger to write about their experience with it), but in this post I just wanted to raise awareness about what could happen if the company hosting your SAAS EHR goes belly up.

When selecting an SAAS EHR, it is important to learn how the EHR company is funded. Depending on how your company is funded will give you a good idea of how long they’ll be around. A company that is running off of venture capital funding or new sales could run into real troubles in this current economic crisis. Once an EHR company runs out of money they’ll generally have the choices listed above: sale/merge the company and assets or shut down the company. Of course, an EHR company that is structured to survive on reoccurring revenue is in a much stronger position financially and will weather the economic crisis better.  In a future post I’ll discuss some warning flags that might indicate that your EHR company is in trouble.

Imagine what effect it would have on your clinic if your hosted SAAS EHR were to close their doors.  An EHR becomes as integral to a practice as breathing.  You can only hold your breathe so long before you start experiencing some major consequences.  Have you thought about a plan in case this happens to your EHR company?  Do you even have the rights to the data in your SAAS EHR company?  What would you do with that data if God forbid, the company was going to shut down?

The good news is that I believe most SAAS EHR companies will try to give you at least some notice before shutting down the company.  However, you shouldn’t expect more than a month’s notice.  If a company is shutting its doors, then every month their in business their losing more and more money.  So, you better be prepared with a plan of what you’ll do in the event this happens.

Unfortunately, mergers or sales aren’t that much better than a company shutting down.  Depends on the merger or sale, but often the software from the company being purchased goes from being highly developed to mostly maintained.  Help requests will often go unanswered or at least a delayed response while the companies figure out the best way to merge the two companies.

Planning for this even is even more serious when using a SAAS EHR software.  In a hosted EHR situation, even if the company goes under you can still use the EHR for as long as you want.  You just won’t get support if something goes wrong with the software.  This gives you a longer runway to be able to plan the move to another EHR system.  An SAAS EHR software has a much shorter runway to make a change.

I wish these things weren’t a reality.  It would be nice to think that every EHR company is going to do great and be around forever.  However, it’s just not the case.  EHR companies of any sort are still a software company.  In fact, many are startup software companies and the statistics don’t lie that the majority of software startup companies fail.  Are you prepared in case your EHR company fails?